Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja, Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
President Muhammadu Buhari has fired a salvo at critics of insecurity in the country.
He described those he accused of politicising the “isolated incidents of insecurity” in the country as unpatriotic.
Although President Buhari Buhari, who spoke in Abuja, yesterday, did not mention any name, it is believed that he was reacting to former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, who released another open letter on Monday in which he drew attention to the festering insecurity in the country.
Obasanjo had flayed the poor security situation, saying the killings cannot be swept under the carpet.
He expressed concern over the high level of insecurity and called on President Buhari to take decisive action.
“To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities: abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type.
“Spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis, which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.
“Similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;
“Violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.”
But Buhari, who met with the national executives of the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) in the State House, yesterday, argued that every country around the world is facing one security challenge or the other.
The president pointed out that there were new challenges of banditry and kidnapping around the globe.
“Let me use this medium to assure you that you would not be disappointed because this second term, I intend to renew efforts in securing the country, fighting corruption and strengthening the economy. Every country has security challenges, while we have made significant progress in fighting against terrorism, we acknowledge that there are new and emerging challenges of kidnapping and banditry.
“I assure you that we will not relent in our efforts to secure the country from criminal activities.
“Those who politicize the isolated incidents of insecurity are not patriotic Nigerians. I am confident that this administration use all the resources at its disposal to protect the lives of all Nigerians and not just prominent Nigerians but all.”
President Buhari restated his commitment to the fight against corruption, declaring that his administration would continue to be tough on the cancer of corruption.
Insecurity getting worse now – Jonathan
Former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan also decried worsening insecurity in the country, describing it as a major problem.
To arrest the ugly trend, he advised the Federal Government to device new measures to fight insecurity, saying, “we cannot continue to do the same thing the same way and expect different result.
“My belief is that the Federal Government working with the state government must design a different approach. I was there as a president for some time, security challenges were there with me, I also inherited some. But it is getting worse everyday.”
Jonathan declared that it was expedient on the Buhari-led administration to set up an anti-kidnapping and insecurity commission, the same way the country has an anti-graft commission.
He spoke in Akure, Ondo State, yesterday, when he paid a condolence visit on leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti over the killing of his daughter on Friday at Kajola village along Benin/Ore road in Odigbo Local Government Area by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
“Every generation of human being faces problems and that generation must find ways of solving the problem. Every government faces some unique problems. Insecurity has been our problem in Nigeria immediately after the civil war. That was the
first time we experienced armed robbery in Lagos. From armed robbery it graduated to kidnapping.
“The first major kidnapping I described as commercial kidnapping because some money exchanged hands which happened in 2006 when I was also a governor in Bayelsa State. From commercial kidnapping it moved to terrorism in the north and now some kind of terrorist attacks all over the country.
“When people just come out of the road and spray bullets on innocent people, that is terror attack. You have no reason to attack somebody you don’t even know. That is terrorism.
“It is now a major problem to the country and my belief is that the Federal Government working with the state government must design a different approach.
“I was there as a president for some time, security challenges were there with me, I also inherited some. But it is getting worse everyday. And we cannot continue to use the same old method.
“As security operatives, the police, the SSS, the armed forces, we must deploy technology and I believe the Federal Government needs to set up a special unit, just like we set up EFCC and ICPC to handle specific issues of corruption; they will know that their total responsibility is to manage this issue of kidnapping and terrorist attacks going on the road or the farm. We can’t continue that way, it is not just possible, because we can’t talk about managing the economy of this country if people are not safe.
“Economy is for the people; they must be alive to enjoy infrastructure. Even if you tar all the roads in the country and people cannot move around, then the roads become meaningless.
“The issue of security must be approached from a different dimension, we cannot continue the old way because it is getting out of hand. We hope the federal and state governments will do something about it.
“In 2014, when I was a sitting president, we had a national conference where a number of things were discussed. The issues of security, state and regional police were discussed.
“A lot of things were discussed during the national conference organized during my time as president. The issue of security, state and community policing were discussed. I always believe that government should look at that report, it was not written by me.
“We should not play politics with serious national issue. If we look
at that report, there are recommendations that bother on security and if there is area that need to be expanded because I believe everyday new idea comes, it should be updated. There is nothing wrong holding a specific meeting to look at the issue of security. I believe the federal and state governments should have a new approach, deploying technology and having more money to protect our people,” he said.
Insecurity didn’t start under Buhari govt – Yuguda
Former Governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda has said the security challenges pre-dated the Buhari administration.
The two-term governor from 2007-2015 and minister of Aviation from May 2003-June 2005, said Boko Haram started in Bauchi.
The 2009 Boko Haram uprising, a conflict between Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group and Nigerian security forces began on 26 July when Boko Haram launched an attack on a police station in Bauchi State.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after a closed door meeting, Yuguda who said he was in the Villa to assure the president that they were praying for his success in managing the country, noted that Buhari has been able to substantially defeat the insurgency in the North-east.
He urged the press to ensure that correct thing is reported for the interest and unity of the country.
“Everybody knows that insecurity in the country did not start with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. We were in government when this insecurity started. Most of you are aware Biko Haram started in Bauchi and by the grace of Allah, Bauchi was able to address it. Of course, it has continued and Mr. President has been able to substantially defeat the insurgency in the north east.”
Yuguda, who blamed the current security challenges on competition of land and increase in population, noted that while there were criminal herdsmen, it was unfair to criminalise the entire cultural group.
“Nigeria is such a huge country and with population growing from 60 million in the 60s to over 200 million today, so most of these challenges you are seeing today is more about competition for land, especially as regards the so-called herdsmen. We know there are quite a number of them that are criminals but criminalising the entire herdsmen I think is unfair because they have been peaceful people.
“Of course, there has been competition for land. If 60 million were occupying the land in the 60s and today you have over 200 million, all those cattle routes that were established by the British colonialists have all been closed down because of human habitations, and of course, even the grazing reserves have been taken over by farmlands as population is growing.
“So, some of these criminals would have taken advantage of what has been happening and unleashing mayhem on our people but that is not acceptable. I believe Mr. President is also addressing that to the best of his ability.”
“In the North-west, we have witnessed a lot of challenges when it comes to banditry and you may not know where the bandits are coming from. It cannot only be a local problem, it could be an international problem, probably migration from somewhere, criminals from other parts of Africa may have assembled and say let’s go into a richer country like Nigeria.
“In fact, kidnappings started with oil workers either in the early 90s or late 80s, so it’s not a new thing. Life is dynamic; if there is no problem then they cannot be a manager. So, we can’t have a country without a leadership because he (president) is there by the grace of the almighty God, because God will not come down and manage the people by himself.”
“So, as along as the population is willing and he too has the vision to address the problem, I think we are going to win. So, really the insecurity in north east and the north west is being addressed and everybody is happy.
“But we see these things keep repeating themselves, we don’t expect them to stop overnight, it’s not possible. So we are praying for the president to surmount all these problems as quickly as possible and we believe that the team he has, the police, army, Air Force, the navy they are doing their best. They should add more prayers and rededicate themselves more and more so that within the shortest possible time…if they have a target of 10 days to defeat the criminals, they should reduce it to five days or even four days.”